UPDATE: Removing incorrect claim that ATI Switchable Graphics technology does not have design wins. Adding details.
ATI, graphics product group of Advanced Micro Devices, has quietly introduced technology that allows notebooks to seamlessly switch between discrete ATI Mobility Radeon graphics processing unit (GPU) and integrated Intel Graphics and Media Accelerator to boost graphics performance or save power. The tech is available for Intel Centrino 2 laptops that run Microsoft Windows Vista operating system.
ATI Switchable Graphics technology is a joint effort between ATI/AMD and Intel Corp. to provide users of Intel Centrino 2 notebooks the best features of various graphics adapters: performance and feature-set of discrete GPU and power-efficiency of integrated graphics processor (IGP). A similar technology was also developed by Intel and Nvidia so that to provide customers a choice of graphics processors.
Thanks to Switchable Graphics technology, select notebooks that feature Intel GS45 or GM45 core-logic set and ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3600 or 3400 graphics chip can switch between standalone and integrated graphics cores dynamically depending on the power source and user preferences without rebooting the PC. Although dynamic switching between graphics cores does not require any complex technology inside chips themselves, the notebook and its BIOS must be specifically designed to support the capability.
Similar technology called Hybrid CrossFire is also available for AMD-based mobile computers, but in case of AMD platforms, IGP and GPU can also work collaboratively in multi-GPU mode in order to boost performance of graphics sub-system substantially.
AMD’s graphics product group has not issued any official statements on the matter of Switchable Graphics technology launch. Perhaps, because there are currently very few Intel Centrino 2 laptops that feature ATI Switchable Graphics, for example, Lenovo ThinkPad T400 and T500 feature Intel GM45 chipsets and ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3650 and 3450 graphics processors, respectively; perhaps, because AMD does not want to attract any attention to the platform of its arch-rival on the market of central processing units.
Earlier this year ATI introduced its external graphics platform (XGP) that allows specially-designed external graphics accelerators to be connected to notebooks or small form-factor desktops.